We arrive in Montepulciano on local market day and look round the stalls. The various seasonal fungi stalls are the most interesting. The local bus takes us all the way up to the top of the town so that we can enjoy the walk down through the streets to the frieze of Etruscan grave stones near the bottom. The bus then takes us to Montefollonico to start the 2 hour walk downhill through beautiful rolling contryside and up again to Montepulciano and our wine tasting.
This is at the Fattoria Pulcino di Ercolani. They had a wide range of wines from their properties across the area. The star wine was undoubtedly the Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Riserva 2006. The company dispatches wine to the UK and several group members used the service. The upstairs restaurant provided a good lunch and more wines to taste.
We shuttled back across the valley to the Innocenti cellars dating from the end of the thirteenth century. Ex- philosophy teacher Vittoria Innocenti makes a range of wines in his ancient cellars and is renowned for his Vin Santo. With some reverence we tasted a 1996 made from Sangiovese and Canaiolo. The grapes are allowed to dry until January/February to concentrate the juice before pressing then ageing in small old oak barrels in alternate warm and cold conditions. The 15% alcohol product is unique, sweet and almost herbal with none of the maderised flavour that characterised the samples we tasted elsewhere made from grape varieties like malvasia. These exhibited the typical oxidied flavour of entry level Madeira.
Back in Pienza we had dinner at the Restaurant del Falco. Sylvana looked after us very well. Our best dining experience in Pienza.
The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder published by Willow Moon. e-Book and paperback at all amazon sites. Reviews at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005BJ3GNI